Mastering LinkedIn

LinkedIn: World’s Largest Professional Network. The social networking website hosts over 147 million people with professional occupations, 60 percent of which are either decision-makers or individuals with direct access to decision-makers. The top four professions on LinkedIn are in the fields of information technology, marketing/advertising, financial services and computer software—all occupations with average incomes exceeding $60,000 annually. This social networking tool harnesses the power to open doors to new professional horizons if used correctly; do you know how? We have compiled seven things to help you master LinkedIn.

Image by Christon Stewart

Image by Christon Stewart

Complete Your Profile.

While having a LinkedIn profile is a step in the right direction, it will not serve you well to leave your profile incomplete. Included in the necessary fields are a professional headline, self-summary, experience, skills and education. Your profile can become pretty in-depth and lengthy quickly as it serves as a rolling resume. Be sure to utilize relevant experience—working at fast food restaurant for a summer in high school probably isn’t necessary for the profile of a mid-level sales professional.

Know Your Settings.

When you are working diligently to complete your profile, there are a few settings that need modification.

  • Turn off your activity broadcasts when completing your profile. This is done out of courtesy for your network as they will receive notifications for every change made.
  • Choose your privacy settings by determining who can see your profile photo, updates, connections and recommendations
  • Create your branded URL and determine what appears in a search to others

Connect with Others.

The primary purpose of LinkedIn is to form connections all over the globe. Included in the list of suggested connections are current and past coworkers, classmates, extracurricular connections, members of your business network and members of LinkedIn groups you choose to join. Don’t leave out family and friends—Aunt Mary could know the hiring manager at your dream job! When sending a connection invitation, be sure to personalize the message; this makes you a real person and helps define your purpose for connecting.

Contribute to the Conversation.

Being stagnant or silent will never help grow your network or further your career. Update your status to keep connections in the loop (promotion, award nominations, etc.) and share resources. Always seek opportunities within groups to provide your expertise or ask questions of your peers—a global perspective may solve your latest obstacle!

Join Relevant Groups.

Connecting with professionals across all industries is important, but sometimes you need a little help from industry friends. Joining groups relevant to your work experience and interests will open doors for a new job or serve as a forum for questions, concerns, complaints and resources in your field.

Follow the Leader.

That’s right. Follow industry leaders, even if they are your competitors. Think of this as your “ninja time”… time to research what is working for them, what isn’t and how you can do it better. This also provides the opportunity to partner with businesses or organizations similar to yours on large projects or charitable events. Being a good sport (and a smart businessman/businesswoman) never hurt!

Link to Personal Profiles.  

Are you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you create Vines or capture your life through Instagram? Many people have landed jobs (or been fired from them) because of their social media activity. While you have the option to keep these personal profiles private, sharing them can provide potential employers with insight into to who you are as a person aside from being a working professional. Warning: Make sure all of your profiles reflect professionalism. If you have a few skeletons in your digital closet, do your best to sweep out the cobwebs before making them public.

LinkedIn is a network filled with opportunity, resources and new horizons to explore. By managing your settings wisely, utilizing your resources advantageously and keeping an open mind, your next career move may be hiding right beneath your fingertips. Interested in learning more? Download our “LinkedIn and the CPA” presentation on SlideShare featured in our “What Can LinkedIn do for CPAs?” blog. Not a CPA? No worries! The information provided is easily translated to other professional occupations! Happy linking!

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